Clinical Profiles of Major Depressive Disorder Based on Age Groups: A Cross-Sectional Study, Vietnam

Original Research


Introduction: Depression is a common mental disorder; however, no study has investigated adolescent and late-life depression in Vietnam, and little has been done to compare the clinical characteristics among age groups of patients with this condition in the literature. Therefore, the study aims to examine the differences in symptom presentation among adolescents, adults, and the elderly with major depressive disorder (MDD).

Methods: A total of 238 patients diagnosed with MDD according to the DSM-5, including 43 aged 10 to 17 years old, 74 aged 18 to 59 years old, and 121 aged 60 and older, were recruited in a cross-sectional study from March to August 2022 at three psychiatric clinics in Ho Chi Minh City. The eligible participant completed an epidemiological questionnaire.

Results: All participants exhibited depressed mood, and 58.8% admitted to having suicidal ideation, with an alarming rate among adolescents (72.1%). Adolescents were less likely to experience the symptoms of interest decrease, appetite problems, insomnia, fatigue, and anxious distress than these other groups (p < 0.05). The pattern of symptom profiles in depressed adults largely remained the same in the older patients, except for psychomotor retardation and concentration problems, in which the latter were less likely to exhibit these symptoms compared to the first one (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Adolescents appear to experience fewer depressive symptoms than adults and the elderly, while the two later groups show similar clinical presentations. Therefore, the differences in symptoms across age groups necessitate an individual approach and management by clinicians.

Graphical abstract